In the chapter, ‘Okay, I am Mr Nice and That’s Fine by Me’, little Mo writes, “Since the time I was a baby, people called me ‘too soft’, ‘too sensitive’, like it’s a bad thing. I don’t like to fight or hit others and I cry easily, and sometimes, when I am surrounded by such meanness, I just walk away. Sometimes, I wish I could do something but I don’t want to be not nice.” This is from the book, Raising Mamma by Lalita Iyer, part-fable, which reflects on the wisdom of a child as he navigates the world around him along with his mother, who is often equally at sea.
What really takes you as a pleasant surprise is just how effortlessly Iyer has captured a child’s voice. The focus is always on his thought process as he responds to fears, joys and his relationship with his environment. Iyer likes to call Raising Mamma autobiographical fiction, for which she has gleaned experiences from her son’s growing up years. "I have used a fictional name, Mo, perhaps, to distance myself and view what happened in our lives. That distancing gave me a different perspective from the adult/parent who is 'supposed to have the answers'," she says.
Iyer didn’t want to write a conventional parenting book. Even though she has authored books for children and adults alike and has blogged extensively about her journey as a mother, Iyer doesn’t see herself as an expert on the same. The book, instead, is a warm take on parenting being a work-in-progress and how most mothers and fathers fumble and try to “wing it” on a day to day basis. “I decided to use this format to create a deeper connection and expose my own vulnerabilities,” she says.
Raising Mamma works on the premise that no two children are the same. Mo, in the book, is someone who is bullied, stereotyped and shamed for being playing with dolls. “These feelings are a thousand times more magnified, when viewed from the child’s perspective. While writing, I have asked myself, how would I feel when placed in that situation? The book is based on such cues and conversations with my son.
'Raising Mamma' has been published by Om Books International